Who is to inherit?

Daring To Love The Duke's Heir Book Cover Daring To Love The Duke's Heir
The Beauchamp Heirs
by Janice Preston
Women's Fiction, Historical
Mills & Boon
Pub Date 27 Jun 2019

She’s totally unsuitable…

…to be his Duchess!

Part of The Beauchamp Heirs: Dominic Beauchamp, Lord Avon, is a powerful duke’s heir and it’s his duty to marry well. His bride must have impeccable breeding, manners and grace. But can anyone meet his exacting standards? Certainly not the irrepressible Liberty Lovejoy, who’s been thrust into society after years of being a provincial nobody. She’s too bold, too bubbly…so why is she the only lady he’s thinking about?

Oh the ‘Ton’ and their ideas that women should be seen and not heard – unless they agree with men of course – in  very simpering way.

A time it seems of true misogyny, at least in the ranks of the privileged few. Bearing in mind that very few women had any control over property, children or money. Let alone voting and politics. Not even the ability to pay bills it seems.

What therefore is a woman with a mind, a voice, and emotions going to do when her twin brother seems determined to fritter away their newly acquired fortune and she can’t control him or the money or…

Clearly she was not going to marry a Duke. Except that this is a love story and…

Nicely written and one feels for both the hero and heroine. The hero because he has been brought up in a world of expectations and the heroine because she has so little control over her life and yet is passionate and meddling..!

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What a Night to Remember

One Night to Remember Book Cover One Night to Remember
Wicked Dukes Club
by Erica Ridley
historical romance
Pub Date: 11 Jun 2019

Notorious whip Giles Langford is surprised to learn his blacksmith is a girl, shocked to realize she’s the out-of-his-league sister of a duke, and horrified to discover he’s fallen in love with the impossible-to-tame woman anyway. With no money and no title, Giles has nothing to offer but his heart...

Felicity Sutton knows poverty firsthand, and she’s never going back. She might miss the smithy, but not the relentless desperation of no home and an empty belly. Of course she’ll accept the stability of a wealthy ton suitor. As for the penniless daredevil she loves, well... At least they’ll have one night to remember.

Meet the unforgettable men of London's most notorious tavern, The Wicked Duke. Seductively handsome, with charm and wit to spare, one night with these rakes and rogues will never be enough... 

Now this was more to my taste than Darcy’s book. The heroine should character and was doing something ‘forbidden’ to her – ie undertaking so-called men’s work. Being a carriage mechanic. Undertaking and devising carriage improvements. Working with her hands – good job Ladies always wore gloves and getting oily and dirty.

She also drove her brother’s curricle – a racing carriage late at night when there was no-one to see, but still not something a Lady should do.

Her only problem was her fixed idea of what she needed from a husband in order to further her ambition to found a trust for poor children.   But she had gumption and showed her intellect.

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Tempt who?

One Night of Temptation Book Cover One Night of Temptation
Wicked Dukes Club
by Darcy Burke
historical romance,
Darcy Burke Publishing
Pub Date: 25 Jun 2019

Faced with a marriage she can’t abide, Lady Penelope Wakefield takes drastic measures to preserve her freedom. Her brilliant plan is foolproof until a sexy but imperious rector “rescues” her.

Rector Hugh Tarleton has no patience for the Society philanthropists who seek to bestow their pity—and not much else—on his oppressed flock in one of London’s worst neighborhoods. When the daughter of a marquess is kidnapped and brought to the rookery, he vows to protect her, but the temptation to surrender to their mutual desire will certainly ruin them both.

For me this story lacked oomph. The heroine was rather weak and lacked personality and anything much to recommend her.  Thus there was little to the story – she didn’t want to marry the nasty piece of lecher her parents had picked out for her. So she attempted to get herself kidnapped. And that was it. She met a nice rector and….

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What a Gothic Tale

Nettie's Secret Book Cover Nettie's Secret
Dilly Court
Romance , Women's Fiction
HarperCollins UK, HarperFiction
Pub Date 16 May 2019

The new novel from the Sunday Times bestselling author.

As the wind whipped around her, dragging strands of hair from beneath her bonnet and tugging at her skirt, Nettie left behind the only home she’d ever known…

London, 1875. Taking one last look around her little room in Covent Garden, Nettie Carroll couldn’t believe she wouldn’t even be able to say goodbye to her friends. Her father had trusted the wrong man, and now they would have to go on the run. Once again.

Well I think Nettie wrote her own Gothic novel in this story with its ups and downs and the frequent villains and flitting from police and and and…

I really enjoyed this book after a slow start. Do persevere as it gets better. The fake paintings are very current as there was an article in the Guardian newspaper on Saturday 15th June claiming that a museum dedicated to the work of Étienne Terrus (a friend of Matisse but lesser known) has now discovered that most of the paintings (60%) are fakes..

It seems that top artist fakes are now too easily found so people are copying the work of lesser known artists. But when this novel is set, fakes of well known artists were much rarer. Amusingly earlier this year it was discovered that what was thought to be a fake Botticelli was actually real!

So Nettie lives in dire poverty in reality with almost no protein and in the slums of London with a father who is profligate yet without earning much at all.

To find out a little more about Victorian life, wages and cost of living I did a little exploring. I found the following quote from Dickens:

There are several grades of lawyers’ clerks. There is the articled clerk, who has paid a premium, and is an attorney in perspective, who runs a tailor’s bill, receives invitations to parties, knows a family in Gower Street, and another in Tavistock Square; who goes out of town every long vacation to see his father, who keeps live horses innumerable; and who is, in short, the very aristocrat of clerks. There is the salaried clerk—out of door, or in door, as the case may be—who devotes the major part of his thirty shillings a week to his Personal pleasure and adornments, repairs half-price to the Adelphi Theatre at least three times a week, dissipates majestically at the cider cellars afterwards, and is a dirty caricature of the fashion which expired six months ago. There is the middle-aged copying clerk, with a large family, who is always shabby, and often drunk. And there are the office lads in their first surtouts, who feel a befitting contempt for boys at day-schools, club as they go home at night, for saveloys and porter, and think there’s nothing like ‘life.’ Charles Dickens, The Pickwick Papers,1836

For interest I found the following statistics:

For the average coffee-stall keeper, general labourer or female copy clerk in the City the wages/salary was – £1 per week:

And Clerks in general were paid as follows:

The cost of accommodation – bearing in mind that in this era nearly everyone rented was:

If you worked at sewing as Nettie did then you could be expected to be paid as follows:

So you can see that it was very difficult to make ends meet unless you were middle class earners.

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Books/book review/fiction/Romance

Not sailing the high seas!

Wish Upon a Duke

(12 Dukes of Christmas Book 3)

Erica Ridley

regency, historical fiction, romance


(20 Nov. 2018)

Love, Actually…

Rumor has it, charming adventurer Christopher Pringle is finally ready to settle down. He’s searching for a free-spirited bride to join him on his travels. But when the matchmaker he hires turns out to be the woman he had a public spat with the day before, nothing goes as planned!

Miss Gloria Godwin loves exploring the world… from the safety of a book. She detests her dashing client’s attempts to force her from her comfort zone. It should be easy to marry off the handsome heir to a dukedom. But the more she tries to match him to other women, the harder it gets to say goodbye…

This is part 3 of the 12 Dukes of Christmas stories, although the hero in this story is not actually a Duke, his brother is (and the Duke of the first story). Christmas of course, is the village of that name set somewhere in the mythical high lands beyond the Lake District, that is high in the (non-existent) mountains and which gets a lot of snow.

This village seems to have a very short spring and summer but the local population love the weather as it brings the tourists – along with the name of the village of course. And the time setting of these stories is right for when the Romantics started the craze of visiting the Lake District and falling in love with its scenery (not to mention writing rhapsodical poems under the influence of drugs).

So our not-Duke hero comes to the village with one thought in mind – he needs a bride to take with him on his travels, and he has 4 weeks to obtain this bride as his ship sails then. Of course, there are many maidens in this village who wold be delighted to go with him, but he sets his sight on one who is very reluctant to leave the village indeed. Our heroine hates the thought of travel as travel has brought her the loss of her father and her fiancée. She does however, love telescopes, astronomy and clockwork – and fiddling with them.

This is why I love reading these stories.

They are light. Predictable and happy and always with a much more modern heroine than you can imagine – in more ways than you can expect from a Regency novel! All her heroines are well educated often in unusual, for the time, subjects, and all of them happy to be unmarried.

Series in Order:

  1. Once Upon a Duke
  2. Kiss of a Duke
  3. Wish Upon a Duke
  4. Never Say Duke
  5. Dukes, Actually
  6. The Duke’s Bride
  7. The Duke’s Embrace
  8. The Duke’s Desire
  9. Dawn with a Duke
  10. One Night with a Duke
  11. Ten Days with a Duke
  12. Forever Your Duke

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